With Internet Crime on the Rise, Businesses Must Remain Vigilant

In the FBI's latest report on Internet Crime, it has been estimated that the costs incurred due to internet crime have gone up to over $7 billion. It is a shocking statistic, to say the least. To make matters worse, this statistic is only a tally of the crimes that the FBI has reported. It does not account the vast majority of crimes that have not been reported.

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This poses a serious problem to the online security of both individuals and organizations. Even with the presence of an organization such as FBI, internet crime rates keep on climbing.
Outside the United States, in developing countries, this statistic should sound an alarm of panic. Both the public and private sectors of a developing country should, therefore, focus on improving their cybersecurity so that they do not fall prey to financial crimes.
The following article talks about the various internet crimes that affect businesses the world over.
The first part of the article will talk about the two most widely used methods for committing financial fraud: real estate and payment processing. The article will then highlight some simple, yet effective tips and tricks that businesses can use to avoid such criminal activities.

Payroll, Real Estate, and Other Popular Crimes

Payroll processing definitely stands above the fray in terms of financial crimes.
What might start out as a simple email sent to a payroll clerk, or an employee from a company's accounts department, can evolve into a financial fraud that can leave many employees without a paycheck. The email can be anything from changing the routing address to editing payroll information.

The end result? The payroll clerk would not even be aware of the stolen checks until an employee fails to deposit the check.

Ever heard of those "Nigerian Prince" or "Cheap Real Estate" emails? If you have, you might think that such scams are now outdated and blatantly obvious.

That might be true, but that does not generally mean that they do not work.

Scams related to real estate are basically emails that you receive from a real estate agent. The email usually revolves around the transfer of real estate from one party to another.

The agent will also try to tempt the reader with offers like "cheapest real estate" or "secure your future today". The last part of the email will prompt the buyer, that is you, to wire money to the agent's bank account routing number, which is controlled by the criminal.

While the emails above usually revolve around the consent of the reader, you should also be aware of scams that border on outright extortion.

You could get an email that says that your webcam has been hacked and that the hacker will transfer all your personal information and/or compromising videos to unknown sources unless the reader pays a ransom.

Other scams can go along the lines of a Denial of Service (DoS) attack that can be stopped if the desired ransom is paid.

Lastly, there are the infamous "hit man" scams. These are probably the worst since the criminals threaten to kill you or a family member if the reader does not pay the money.

When confronted with such emails, the first thing you should do is to report the crime to the proper authorities. The internet crime unit of any law enforcement organization will help you to avoid such criminal activity, and track down the criminals as well.

When these crimes are reported by a significant number of internet users, it will not only spread awareness regarding such acts, they will also cease to exist.

Now, what we wrote above just provided an introduction to the most common internet crimes out there. The next section of this article will detail some tips and tricks that you can use to avoid cybercrimes both at home and at the workplace.

Be Vigilant Before It Is Too Late

As a business, being a victim of cybercrime is one place you do not want to find yourself in. It is a huge problem and the solution does not lie in simply rewiring a couple of Cat6 Connectors around.

However, if you are not a victim, here are a few simple steps that you can follow to protect yourself:

• Knowing your business is the first step. When you are running a small yet successful business, it gets difficult to keep track of everything. In the process, you lose sight of the smaller things that are very important in the long run. Cybersecurity is one of those small concerns. You should not wait before it is too late. Instead, become proactive and focus on cybersecurity initiatives within your company.

• Investing in a good cybersecurity system is important. Try to install cybersecurity software in your company that has the potential to secure your business against the very basic and elaborate cyber attacks.

• Most of the software updates that you see usually have an added layer of security to them. Failing to update the various software within the company can prove really harmful because they are susceptible to cyber attacks.

• Employee involvement plays a crucial role in protecting your company from cyber attacks. Employees are the backbone of any company, and without properly training them on the clear and present threat of cybersecurity, you could run into problems such as the payroll clerk example in section one.

• Using stronger login passwords is beneficial whether you are at the workplace or not. Unique password combinations can prevent hackers and crackers from gaining access to your office or personal data. Add a strong password to all the systems that you are using in your workplace. You should also ensure that you have a strong Wi-Fi password as well.

Final Thoughts:

All in all, we consider this article a good start for ensuring cybersecurity initiatives within your company. There are many things that you can do but for the sake of simplicity, try to start with the steps mentioned above.

Again, the specter of cybercrime is a reality, and while you might think that no harm would come to you, you can never be too sure. So keep strict vigilance at all times.

Author Bio:

Qurat-ul-Ain Ghazali is an information system engineer and a certified digital marketing trainer with a passion for writing, designing and anything tech related. Currently, she is the Digital Content Manager at Dynamologic Solutions. She occasionally writes articles for Shireen Inc.


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